A landmark decision was made by the U.S. Supreme Court yesterday, as they struck down the vast majority of Arizona’s SB 1070 immigration law. The law has been a hot button issued since Arizona passed it — being barred by a federal judge two years ago until this most recent and ultimate ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Much of the law was eliminated, including a clause that would ban illegal immigrants from applying for work (an offense would be a state crime); a clause that would force illegal immigrants to carry alien registration documents (again, an offense would be considered a state crime); and a provision that encouraged authorities to arrest illegal immigrants if there was “probable cause” that they had previously committed a deportable act.
However, a section of the law was upheld that could encourage racial profiling and discriminatory acts by local and state officials in Arizona: authorities are required to check the immigration status of anyone stopped under local or state law should “reasonable suspicion” exist that the person is in the country illegally.
It’s a precedent-setting decision by the Supreme Court which will have wide ranging effects on similar laws in a number of states (most notably in Georgia and Alabama) and it will certainly have an impact on any future immigration laws that state legislators may consider.
Considering their ruling, it seems the Supreme Court acknowledged that a large portion of this law was unfair to illegal immigrants — however, it seems little consideration was made for the matter of civil rights in this contentious issue. While their ruling inherently could only consider the law (and how it conflicted with federal laws), the civil rights element of SB1070 cannot and should not be disregarded.
Source: KPCC, “Supreme Court upholds key provision of SB 1070, strikes down the rest,” Leslie Berestein Rojas, June 25, 2012